Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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(DE-1: dp.l,400; l. 289'6"; b. 35'; dr. 10'; s. 19 k.; cpl. 175; a. 3 3", 2 40mm., 6 2Omm., 1 dcp (hh.); 4 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Evarts)

Henry William Bayntun born in 1766 entered the Royal Navy at an early age; was commissioned lieutenant in 1783; given command of his first ship, the sloop HMS Avenger; and promoted by Sir John Jervis, after the reduction of Martinique in 1794. Later posted to the frigate HMS Undaunted, Bayntun spent the next decade save a brief period in 1796 in the West Indies.

Upon his return to England, he was given command of the 74 gun HMS Leviathan. Sailing to the Mediterranean to join Lord Nelson's forces in the blockade of Toulon, Bayntun's ship participated in the chase of the French fleet to the West Indies and back and in the Battle of Trafalgar. During that celebrated naval action, Leviathan closed and battled the French flagship Bucentaur, and others, such as Santissima Trinidad and St. Augustin. In January 1806, at the funeral of Lord Nelson who had died of wounds suffered at Trafalgar, Capt. Bayntun "bore the guidon in the water procession from Greenwich Hospital."

After service off Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June 1807, he received command of the 74 gunner, HMS Milford, in 1809 and of the yacht, Royal Sovereign, in 1811. Sources indicate that he performed "no further active service" after that point, but was promoted steadily until he received the rank of admiral on 10 January 1837. He died on 17 December 1840. He had been knighted on 2 January 1815.

Bayntun (BDE l} the first of the lend lease destroyer escorts was laid down on 5 April 1942 at the Boston Navy Yard; launched on 27 June 1942; transferred to the Royal Navy under lend lease on 20 January 1943; given the pendant number (K.310) departed Boston the following month, bound via New York, for Bermuda to conduct her "working up." Allocated to the 44th Escort Group, part of the Western Approaches Command, Bayntun and her sistership Bazely (K.311) sailed on 2 April 1943 for Chesapeake Bay where they were to load stores for transportation to the United Kingdom. However, Bayntun returned to Bermuda to pick up men from her crew who had been quarantined there due to scarlet fever before she sailed for England and ultimately got underway on 15 April for the British Isles, in company with Berry (K.3121). The two "Captain" class frigates reached Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on 23 April.

Assigned to Escort Group B 4, operating from Londonderry, Bayntun underwent voyage repairs at Liverpool in May before she sailed for Bermuda. Next shifting northward from Bermuda, Bayntun joined the screen for convoy HX 250 and sailed from New York on 30 July. The warship escorted two merchantmen, SS Biscaya and SS Bruarfoss, detached from the convoy, to Iceland before she herself proceeded on to Belfast. In September, an accident in Bayntun's forward motor room caused extensive damage and flooding, and the resultant repairs kept her in the yard at Belfast until 6 December.

Leaving Belfast, she rejoined Escort Group B 4 at Londonderry. Five days into 1944, the frigate departed her home base as part of the screen for convoy OS 64. The escorts detected the presence of an enemy submarine on 6 January and gave chase. Bayntun located the U boat in the fading daylight and carried out three attacks, joined by the Canadian corvette HMCS Camrose (K.154) which made five. Bayntun recovered wreckage coated with light diesel oil and pronounced the attack successful. She was indeed correct for U-757 had perished, victim of the joint attack launched by Bayntun and Camrose.

Reaching Gibraltar on 17 January, Bayntun departed "The Rock" on the 22d and arrived back at her home base on 2 February. Bayntun remained in port for voyage repairs and enjoyed a brief respite from convoy duty before heading back to Gibraltar on 13 February. During this voyage, she again made contact with a U boat, attacking on 10 March in the Bay of Biscay during the search for the attacker that had torpedoed and sunk HMS Asphodel (K.56) the previous day. These attacks, made in concert with HMS Clover (K.134), failed; and Bayntun returned to Londonderry on 13 March.

Over the next few months, Bayntun remained engaged in the prosaic but important duties of a convoy escort. In August, she was involved in an operation coded "CX" designed to counter inshore operations by U boats. On 1 September, Bayntun took part in the hunt for the killer of HMS Hurst Castle (K.416), a corvette that had heen torpedoed 11 miles north of Tory Island, but the search yielded no result.


With the disbandment of Escort Group B 4, Bayntun was assigned to Escort Group 10, retaining Londonderry as her base of operations. On 27 October, she was detailed to shepherd a straggler from convoy OS 93 from U boats known to be in the vicinity and carried out attacks against a suspected U boat. Again no wreckage appeared to suggest a successful attack. On 21 November 1944, Bayntun, on channel patrol, recovered the bodies of four sailors who had been lost with the trawler, HMS Transvaal that had gone down earlier in the English Channel.

The year 1945 was to prove a successful one for the hunting and killing of U boats. Sailing for Scapa Flow in late January, Bayntun teamed with the frigates Braithwaite (K.458) and Loch Eck (K.422) on 3 February and sank U-1279. During her next voyage, commencing at Scapa Flow on 9 February, Bayntun detected a U boat on the 14th, called for help from Braithwaite, Loch Dunvegan (K.425), and Loch Eck, and together they sank U-989, rescuing six survivors. Three days later, Bayntun and Loch Eck pooled their resources to destroy U-1278.

Joining the Portsmouth patrol on 11 March, Bayntun made contact with a U boat 10 days later,but the ensuing attack was not successful. In company with Loch Eck on 25 March, Bayntun investigated a reported U-boat sinking and, on 26 April, took part in what she thought to be a successful search for a U-boat. However, records of lost German submarines do not list any losses for that date.

After hostilities ended in Europe, Bayntun formed part of the escort for eight U-boats which sailed from Stavenger, Norway, to Scotland on 27 May 1945. Three days later, when the little convoy reached its destination, Bayntun proceeded to Bergen, Norway, for her second escort mission. Reaching Scapa Flow on 4 June, she then proceeded to Rosyth, Scotland, where she became an escort for the "Apostle" convoy that sailed the following day.

Reduced to reserve, Category "B", on 14 June 1945, Bayntun was returned to Navy custody at Harwich, England, on 22 August 1945. Commissioned the same day, Lt. Comdr. John E. Shinners, USNR, in command, Bayntun (DE-1) had as her commissioning crew the former ship's company of the reverse lend lease frigate Fury (PG-69) that had earlier that day been returned to the Royal Navy. Bayntun departed The Downs on 29 August, sailing for the United States with Task Group (TG) 21.3. She reached the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 8 September 1945. Bayntun was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 19 October 1945, and her disposal was ordered on 30 October. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 November, and she was sold to Thomas Harris Barker of New Jersey on 17 June 1947 for scrapping.

Robert J. Cressman

28 February 2006


Published: Wed Jun 24 08:31:52 EDT 2015